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  • Writer's pictureChasingBuffaloesandBeyond

The Perfect Weekend Getaway - Orcas Island

Updated: Jan 19, 2022

View of the ferry terminal on Orcas Island.
View of Orcas Island as you approach on the ferry

Ahh, the San Juan Islands. Located in the northwest corner of Washington State, these islands make for a great day trip from the Seattle area. Even better, pick an island and spend a whole weekend! Who doesn't love taking a ferry! That is one of the best parts of visiting the San Juan Islands - getting to experience an iconic Washington State Ferry ride! We spent three nights camping at Moran State Park found on Orcas Island.

Here are some of the highlights:



Deer walking across beach with the Anacortes Ferry Terminal in the background
View from the boardwalk near Anacortes Ferry Terminal

Day 1: Up bright and early - we arrived in Anacortes to catch the ferry. In the summer time, it is highly recommended to book your ferry tickets online to reserve a spot - especially if you plan on taking your vehicle on the ferry. Arriving early, we had some time to kill once getting in line for the ferry, so we set off exploring down by the water. We found this great boardwalk and even ran into a deer while we were strolling. Once aboard the ferry, make sure to spend some time on the outside decks and take in the beautiful views of the Puget Sound!

Little boy on a ferry looking out at the views of Puget Sound
Enjoying the ferry ride!
View from the deck of the ferry while arriving to Orcas Island
Arriving at Orcas Island


 Father and son standing at the entrance to Orcas Village
Welcome to Orcas Village

Upon arrival, you depart the ferry at Orcas Village. After driving our car off the ferry, we stopped for a quick photo-op looking over the tiny area of Orcas Village. By now, it was getting close to lunchtime, so we decided to drive across the island to the town of Eastsound. Eastsound is the largest town on Orcas Island and is a great place to stroll and enjoy the gifts shops, art galleries and wonderful restaurants. We chose to have lunch at the Brown Bear Bakery and the sandwiches here are amazing! Don't forget to also grab a pastry for dessert! By this point, Brecken had fallen asleep in his stroller, so it was the perfect time for us to stop in at a winery for a tasting! We stopped in at Doe Bay Wine Co and enjoyed some relaxation and wonderful wine while our little guy snoozed.

Overlooking Orcas Village with views of the general store and ferry terminal
Overlooking the Ferry Terminal at Orcas Village
Doe Bay Wine Co sign with purple flowers around it
Great place to stop and enjoy a glass of wine!


 White arch entrance to Moran State Park
North Entrance to Moran State Park

At this point it was time to head to the campground and get ourselves all situated. Moran State Park is one of our favorite campgrounds as it provides a number of sites that are literally right on the edge of Cascade Lake. After getting our site all set up, it was time to hit the water! Time to blow up our inflatable Seyvlor kayak. It was great that we could actually launch our kayak straight from our campsite! After some time paddling around Cascade Lake, it was time to get in the water, so we headed across the lake for the swimming area. Brecken absolutely loved the sandy beach and had a blast splashing around in the water here! After a busy day, it was time to head back to the campsite and enjoy some time around the campfire, enjoying a beautiful sunset!

Campsite with tent, firepit, camping chairs and screened in picnic table at campsite along Cascade Lake
Our campsite along Cascade Lake in Moran State Park
Father and son pumping up an inflatable yellow kayak
Getting the kayak ready
Baby in a blue life jacket kayaking on Cascade Lake
Out little adventurer!
Golden sunset over Cascade Lake
Beautiful sunset over Cascade Lake


Mother and son hiking along the Cascade Loop Trail with views over Cascade Lake
View of Cascade Lake from the Cascade Loop Trail

Day 2: Ready for another day of adventures, we set off to explore within Moran State Park. Moran State Park offers 38 miles of hiking trails. We chose to hike the Cascade Lake Loop (2.7 miles roundtrip). This is a relatively flat hike, making it a nice way to kick off our morning and enjoy the views as you make you way around the shoreline of Cascade Lake. After completing this hike, we decided to drive to the top of Mt. Constitution. No trip to Orcas Island would be complete without visiting Mt. Constitution. Mt. Constitution is the highest point on the San Juan Islands and has a great observation tower that was constructed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps and is built as a replica of a Russian Watchtower. Our son loved climbing thru this tower or 'castle' as he called it! After taking in the great views over the San Juan Islands, we headed back down for a quick hike to Cascade Falls (0.4 miles roundtrip). This short trail provides a wonderful view of Cascade Falls and is worth the quick stop!

Father and son looking out over views of the Puget Sound from the top of Mt. Constitution
Breathtaking views from the top of Mt. Constitution
Little boy with a hiking stick near the watch tower at the top of Mt. Constitution
Observation Tower at the top of Mt. Constitution
Beautiful tumbling Cascade Falls
Gorgeous Cascade Falls in Moran State Park


As we are a family that never sits still, we then took a drive over to Judd Cove Preserve. Judd Cove is a 12 acre preserve that includes an old lime kiln and a nice shoreline that was great for beach-combing. We had fun lifting up the rocks and seeing all the black crabs scurrying about.

Shoreline of Judd Cove Preserve
Judd Cove Preserve
Father and son looking at tiny crabs among the rocks at Judd Cove Preserve
Finding sea creatures!


Father and son looking at the views of Cascade Lake and surrounding forests from the top of Sunrise Rock
Great views from Sunrise Rock!

Day 3: To kick off our day, we headed to another hike within Moran State Park - Sunrise Rock Trail. This is a 1.4 mile roundtrip hike that gains 300 feet of elevation in the 0.7 miles to the top. The short, but rather steep switchbacks take you up to a fantastic view of Cascade Lake. After taking in the view for so some time, we headed back down and drove over to Obstruction Pass State Park. Obstruction Pass State Park is located on the southern end of Orcas Island about a 10 minute drive from Moran State Park and offers one of the few public beach accesses on Orcas Island. This is a great spot to enjoy the tide pools. We enjoyed finding crabs, starfish, and barnacles as we explored this great beach!

Father and son exploring the tide pools at Obstruction Pass State Park
Exploring the tide pools!
Rocky beach and blue waters at Obstruction Pass State Park
Enjoying our afternoon at Obstruction Pass State Park


 Indian Island at low tide with people crossing the water to reach the island
View of Indian Island from Eastsound

Day 4: For our last day on Orcas Island, we booked an afternoon ferry to return on, so we had a bit of time to keep exploring before heading to the ferry terminal. After packing up our campsite we headed back to Eastsound to catch the low-tide so that we could cross the sandbar that emerges allowing us to walk to Indian Island. This was a pretty cool adventure and allows for enjoying some great tide pools, Just be careful to watch the tides so you aren't swimming back to the mainland! From there it was time to head back and catch the ferry home after our super busy, but fun weekend in the San Juans!

Father and son look to be walking on water as they cross a sand spit at low tide to reach Indian Island off the coast of Orcas Island
Super fun adventure to be able to cross the sandbar during low-tide!
Little boy exploring the tide pools off Indian Island
Never stop adventuring!

Interested in planning your own trip to Orcas Island and Moran State Park? Below is our summarized itinerary for you to follow or adjust to your own preferences. ENJOY!

Day 1: Ferry to Orcas Village, Eastsound Village (explore shops & art galleries), Lunch at Brown Bear Bakery, Wine-Tasting at Doe Bay Wine Co, Setup campsite at Moran State Park, Spend time kayaking & swimming in Cascade Lake.

Day 2: Explore Moran State Park: Cascade Lake Loop (2.7 miles roundtrip), Drive to top of Mt. Constitution & climb observation tower, Cascade Falls (0.4 miles roundtrip), beach-combing at Judd Cove Preserve

Day 3: Hike to Sunrise Rock (1.4 miles roundtrip), Obstruction Pass State Park - spend afternoon exploring the beach.

Day 4: Time the low-tide and walk across sandbar to Indian Island. Explore the island. Ferry back to the mainland.

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